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Map-Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw-district-of-Los Angeles
Map of the Crenshaw District in western south region as delineated by the Los Angeles Times.
Mural of African-American Progress and apartments, along Crenshaw Boulevard

Coordinates: 34°01′05″N 118°20′26″W / 34.01810°N 118.34064°W / 34.01810; -118.34064

Crenshaw, informally as the Crenshaw District, is a neighborhood and district in the southwestern region of the city of Los Angeles, California. It derives from its namesake Crenshaw Boulevard, one of the city's major principal thoroughfares.

The Crenshaw business commercial corridor along this street has had many different cultural backgrounds throughout the years but still has a positive African American commerce with many other ethnicity groups in recent years.

Geography

According to the Mapping L.A. project of the Los Angeles Times, Crenshaw is bordered by Chesterfield Square on the east, Hyde Park on the south, View Park-Windsor Hills on the west. It includes Leimert Park.

Street limits of the Crenshaw neighborhood are: Van Ness and Arlington Avenues; east, Exposition Boulevard on the north, La Brea Avenue near Baldwin Hills; west, and roughly Stocker Street & Slauson Avenue on the south. The Crenshaw Strip is the area directly stretched on Crenshaw between Exposition Boulevard on the north and Vernon Avenue on the south.

Neighborhood

Crenshaw is a largely residential neighborhood of single-story houses, bungalows and low-rise condominiums and apartments. There are also commercial buildings with an industrial corridor along Jefferson Boulevard. There are also several other commercial districts throughout the neighborhood.

After courts ruled segregation covenants to be unconstitutional, the area opened up to other races. A large Japanese American settlement ensued, which can still be found along Coliseum Street, east and west of Crenshaw Boulevard. African Americans started migrating to the district in the mid 1960s, and by the early 1970s later were the majority.

In the 1970s, Crenshaw, Leimert Park and neighboring areas together had formed one of the largest African-American communities in the western United States. Crenshaw had suffered significant damage from both the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake but was able to rebound in the mid 2000s with the help of redevelopment. Crenshaw has significant affluent middle-class areas, and some areas with some poverty rates.

In 2006, the population of Crenshaw was around 27,600. Currently, there is a huge demographic shift increased in where many middle and lower-class blacks and Latinos are migrating to cities in the Inland Empire as well as cities in the Antelope Valley sections of Southern California as a form of gentrification. Despite the current major demographic shift, blacks had maintained their status as one of the neighborhood's largest ethnic group, with African-Americans forming 63.34% of the population, followed by Whites and Latinos (any race) at 30%, white (not Latino), 16.89%; Asian, 4.38%; American Indians, 0.43%; Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders, 0.20%; other races, 9.20%; two or more races, 9.32%.

Transportation

The Metro Crenshaw LAX Line is a light rail line now under construction. It will run between the Expo/Crenshaw station and Aviation/96 Street station, transiting generally north-south along Crenshaw Boulevard and passing through Leimert Park and the city of Inglewood.

Notable places

Exterior, west side perspective view, facing southeast. - Holiday Bowl, 3730 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA HABS CA-2775-2
Googie architecture of the former Holiday Bowl in 2002 before converting into a Starbucks

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  • Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza shopping mall is a well-known landmark in the district. It was home to a tri-level Wal-Mart (formerly a Broadway department store, then later a JJ Newberry's), Sears and Macy's. Additional retail stores later moved into the mall such as Victoria's Secret, Forever 21, and TJ Maxx, as well as office supply stores such as Staples.
  • Marlton Square, formerly known as Santa Barbara Plaza, was once a shopping center in the district. The center had aged over the years and was a failed redevelopment project. Recently local city business developers and Kaiser Permanente had purchased the land and had demolished the old retail stores in 2011. It is currently constructing a new Kaiser Permanente medical office building.
  • The Crenshaw Square center and sign, a local landmark, had been in some disrepair throughout the years. In 2007, the sign was replaced by a modern illuminated red-and-green sign. The Crenshaw Square outdoor shopping center was sold in 2015 and underwent a significant renovation in 2016.
  • The Holiday Bowl was a bowling alley and cafe known for being a center of ethnic diversity during the 1960s and 1970s in the Crenshaw district. It featured a sushi bar known as the Sakiba Lounge with live musical acts. Its historic Modernist Googie architecture style has been refurbished by the buildings new tenants, Starbucks and Walgreens, along with an newly outdoor shopping center that opened in early 2006.
  • Village Green, Los Angeles, a neighborhood near Baldwin Hills.
  • The West Angeles Church of God in Christ, a Baptist church that is located near the intersection of Crenshaw Blvd and Exposition Blvd. It is home to Bishop Charles E. Blake.
  • The Crenshaw Christian Center was never in the Crenshaw District, but was originally located on Crenshaw Boulevard in City of Inglewood. It is now a part of Central Los Angeles.

Special events

  • The annual Kingdom Day Parade: The 2013 parade was the 30th edition of the Parade. It is usually broadcast in the LA area on KABC-TV. The parade goes down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Crenshaw Boulevard.
  • The Taste of Soul Festival takes place every October (since 2005).

Demographics

See also: History of the Japanese in Los Angeles

In the post-World War II era, a Japanese-American community was established in Crenshaw. There was an area Japanese school called Dai-Ichi Gakuen. Due to a shared sense of being discriminated against, many of the Japanese-Americans had close relationships with the African-American community.

At its peak, it was one of the largest Japanese-American settlements in California, with about 8,000 residents around 1970, and Dai-Ichi Gakuen had a peak of 700 students.

Beginning in the 1970s the Japanese American community began decreasing in size and Japanese-American businesses began leaving. Scott Shibya Brown stated that "some say" the effect was a "belated response" to the 1965 Watts riots and that "several residents say a wave of anti-Japanese-American sentiment began cropping up in the area, prompting further departures." Eighty-two-year-old Jimmy Jike was quoted in the Los Angeles Times in 1993, stating that it was mainly because the residents' children, after attending universities, moved away. By 1980, there were 4,000 Japanese ethnic residents, half of the previous size. By 1990 there were 2,500 Japanese-Americans, mostly older residents. By 1993, the community was diminishing in size, with older Japanese Americans staying but with younger ones moving away. That year, Dai-Ichi Gakuen had 15 students. Recently there has been a shift in a new generation of Japanese Americans moving back into the neighborhood.

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